Staying Focused on Students

 Published: April 10, 2019

By: Heather Willden


photo of a student writing on paper at a desk

Students will carry the respiratory care profession into the future. To help them carve a career and professional path where they can flourish, the AARC and state societies continually keep students a top priority and focus.

photo of scholarship application board discussing cystic fibrosis
photo of scholarship application board discussing asthma
Students at Francis Tuttle Technology Center visit with vendors
In the top and middle photos, students showcase their scholarship application boards. In the above photo, students meet with vendors at the school.

We reached out to the Oklahoma Society of Respiratory Care (OSRC) to learn how they are providing meaningful membership opportunities to their students. OSRC Membership Chair Crystal Cosper, MEd, RRT, RRT-ACCS, explained how the OSRC is approaching this topic, along with current efforts and next steps for the state.

“I think one of our big goals as a state right now is to become more visible and improve membership,” Cosper said. “This is an area we have struggled with and student groups are included in this struggle.”

Know what’s important

In discussing the importance of students, the OSRC keeps the following in mind:

  • Engaging students will allow for new ideas.
  • Students are the future of our profession.
  • Support the education of the student and be visible within the education community.
  • Encourage student involvement in current board initiatives and activities.
  • Foster a sense of pride for the profession and support the passion of students to volunteer with an organization.

As the future of the profession, the OSRC discusses the importance of the AARC with the students. They emphasize how membership supports members locally and nationally, the political impact, and the progression of care within the profession.

Current OSRC efforts

OSRC Officers have already taken part in a variety of activities, such as:

  • Visiting programs during Respiratory Care Week to talk about the importance of state affiliation and the AARC.
  • Presenting a PACT report update and spoke about the importance of this for future care.
  • Inviting student groups to attend board meetings.
  • Discussing scholarship opportunities offered to the students.
  • Welcoming student attendees to their conferences. Student scholarship applicants showcased their poster presentations set up for questions/answers in the vendor area.
OSRC President Caitlin Coppock presenting at her former school
OSRC President Caitlin Coppock, RRT, discusses OSRC involvement with students at the Oklahoma City Community College.

Future efforts

  • Go social – using social media efforts to engage all members, including students.
  • Reach members where they are – rotate meeting locations to encourage attendance.
  • Stay connected – Continue building relationships with education programs.
  • Advocate – Explore the option of including students in an RC day at the state capitol.

They are also working to have a roundtable discussion at lunch during their spring conference with different non-profit organizations giving information about volunteering.

“At our school (Francis Tuttle Technology Center/Oklahoma City Community College program), we include information about AARC in some of our curriculum,” Cosper said. “Our school currently pays for the students to be members, and we make sure our students attend the OSRC conference by the school paying the student conference fee. We have also had former students return and speak who have been involved in the OSRC for lunch-and-learn events.”

Looking for more?

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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